Home > Kids > Fitness and Nutrition > Childhood Obesity > Overweight Kids and Discrimination
|

Overweight Kids and Discrimination

There's a lot of talk these days about the "obesity epidemic" in the U.S., and with good reason. The overall rate of obesity has doubled in the past 20 years, and it has tripled in teens. Twenty percent of kids are overweight, and statistics show that most will become overweight adults. Better nutrition and exercise are certainly part of the formula for reversing this trend. But according to Jennifer Pomeranz at Yale University's Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, we won't be able to solve the obesity crisis until we address weight bias in our society.

Damaging Stereotypes

Weight bias is the most widespread form of prejudice in our culture – more widespread than racial or religious bias. There is generally very little sympathy for the overweight, and damaging stereotypes are pervasive. According to studies, the weight stigma begins as early as age three, because adults instill this negative attitude in their kids. Lazy, ugly, stupid, and disgusting are just a few of the hurtful epithets familiar to the obese. Parents of overweight kids may believe that criticism will motivate them to lose weight, but the opposite is true: Too many disparaging remarks can drive kids to binge eating and avoidance of exercise.

The effects of weight bias on our obese children are especially harmful. They endure physical abuse and social exclusion from their peers, and verbal abuse from both their peers and adults. By high school, they may actually be victims of group aggression and mobbing. Some who have been bullied become bullies in self-defense. Many suffer from loneliness, depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and poor body image. Suicidal thoughts and behaviors are not uncommon.



|


highlights

Teens and E-Cigarettes: 6 Things You Must Know
For the first time in a generation, tobacco use has risen among the nation's youth, due to the rising use of e-cigarettes. Learn more about the dangerous and addictive e-cigarette trend, and get tips to talk to your teen.

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, brought to you by Galactic Hot Dogs.

Printable Lists of the Top 100 Baby Names
Need help with baby name ideas? Use our printable list of the top 100 girl names and top 100 boy names of 2015 to help you brainstorm and narrow down your favorites.

Registered for Kindergarten — Now What?
Wondering what to do now that you've signed your child up for kindergarten? Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks